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RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) Policy

Table of contents:

1. Definition
2. Purpose/Scope
3. Objectives 5
4. Roles and responsibility
5. Minimum Criteria
6. RPL Process

1. Definition

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
“Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)” means the principles and processes through which the
prior knowledge and/or skills of a person are made visible and are assessed for the
purposes of certification, alternative access, and admission, and further learning and

As a principle, it endorses the value of giving recognition to knowledge and skills that have
been acquired outside a formal learning programme.
As a process, it consists of a range of educational and training activities and services
through which the principle of RPL is applied and students are supported in different
contexts as they go through the RPL process.

These activities and services include the provision of RPL-related information; advising,
coaching, and administration services; alternative access programmes; integrated curriculum
design; and a variety of formative and summative assessment practices

2. Purpose/Scope

The purpose of RPL is to identify, assess, recognise and improve a candidate’s status in
terms of what he/she knows and can do against national standards and qualifications.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is offered to students who currently possess some or all
the required skills within the qualification they are seeking. Competency based training
allows for the issue of qualifications based upon the abilities demonstrated by the learner,
not by the number of hours they have sat in a training course.

Given this a student may at the time of enrolment be close to meeting some of these
requirements, if not all. This may be due to work experience in the field or other studies, in
this case the student will not benefit from being treated the same as a new entrant to the

RPL’s do not replace training; they operate at the other end of the spectrum, where training is not
required. RPL’s are best suited to those who may not necessarily attain value from additional
training but are seeking to have their existing skills formalised.
The RPL process focuses on establishing whether the student has acquired competence in
the following areas:

  • Basic theoretical knowledge;
  • Practical competence;
  • Reflective competence; and
  • Applied competence.

The RPL process for students has the following implications:
The student only enrols for those aspects of the programme/ module that are still required
after the application of RPL credits;

3. Objectives of the Policy

The RPL process can help such persons acquire a formal qualification that matches their
knowledge and skills, and thus contribute to improving employability, mobility, lifelong
learning, social inclusion and self-esteem.

  • Establish guidelines, principles and criteria for the implementation of an
    organisational RPL strategy.
  • Provide ways of accommodating prior learning appropriately within the
    the framework of admissions and academic credits.
  • Contribute to its mission ‘to redress the disadvantages, inequities and
    imbalances of the past’, and to ‘promote access to learning that will expand
    educational and employment opportunities for the historically disadvantaged,
    and support social transformation and redress.’
  • Implement the Student Recruitment, Selection and Admissions Policy by
    making provision for RPL as an alternative access route for candidates who
    do not meet the general minimum admission requirements for admission to
    Accredited Training Providers academic programmes.

4. Roles and Responsibility

The RPL process is managed by the following:
Accredited Training Providers that have Certified RPL Advisors.
In terms of candidate support the RPL advisor will do the following:

  • Inform the candidates regarding the requirements of qualifications or unit
  • Support and guide the candidate in the collection of evidence;
  • Help the candidate plan for the assessment;
  • Inform the candidate regarding the timing of the assessments; and conduct
    the assessment and provide feedback.

5. Minimum Criteria

6. RPL Process

Step 1
A person wishing to apply for RPL will contact one of the Accredited Training Providers that
offer the RPL course
Step 2
To apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for the National Certificate in Fitness,
complete the checklist ( to identify if
you have all the required evidence for assessment. If you do not have the evidence
indicated, then your portfolio will not meet the qualification’s assessment criteria. However,
you can top-up your portfolio by completing any relevant modules. If you feel that you have
the knowledge and skills to meet the requirements of the Exit Level Outcomes of the
qualification, but you do not have the evidence, then you take a knowledge test or you can
complete an assignment to provide the necessary evidence. Note that in some instances, a
written or oral exam is required as well as the evidence you submit. Once submitted, your
portfolio of evidence is assessed by a registered assessor to ensure that it meets the
qualification’s assessment criteria.
Step 3
Once the RPL has been completed with the accredited training provider, they will be
registered on the REPSSA database.